My Christmas in Pleshey
Trip Start Jul 03, 2005
54Trip End Ongoing
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So, as most probably know I had the very wonderful privalage of spending my first Christmas away with my good friends (aka pseudo parents) Jim and Layla, and the rest of his immediate family at Jim's childhood home. Welcome to Essex...well, if I remember correctly Essex is like the county and Pleshey is the actual village. Yes, village, I kid you not! I distinctly remember when we were driving to the park to walk the dogs one morning I saw a road sign labeled: The Street. Oh man, if that doesn't describe to you how small this place was, nothing will
Jim's parents (Dave and Jen)didn't actually live in the village, they were just outside of it in a house surrounded by pastures and some distant neighbors. Walking in the front door that first night we were bombarded with dogs and people and I knew that I was going to fit in just fine, and I did. The entire family: Mom, Dad, Sister and Husband, they all treated me like one of the clan, feeding me, liquoring me up and calling me Strawbs.
So what did we do? Well, in the mornings we walked the dogs..this lasted an hour or so and it was great, fresh air and the English countryside. Christmas eve we each got a stocking (very long and stretchy sock) and filled it with the odds and ends of wrapped presents. Filled...well, crammed as much as the poor sock could ever dream of holding! Amongst the dog walking and stocking filling there was eating, drinking and more eating
After dinner we gathered in the living room to sing Christmas songs! Yes sang, Jim's sister played the piano and we read from the carol books and sang! I tell you what this is by far the most traditional Christmas I have ever spent! So we sing, stuff the stockings then head out to midnight mass...but not before a quick pint at the pub just across the street! All the locals smiling and wishing a merry christmas, then heading to the church
Christmas day...everyone up, and onto the parents bed. Everyone, including the dogs. Well, that's how it's suppose to be, not all of us could fit so two stayed on the floor, but I was lucky enough to be a bed person. So, now we open the presents in our stockings, yes, even me. I was really suprised and touched by just how far everyone went to include me, I had a full stocking, and presents under the tree too.
For the rest of the time we did the usual walk the dogs, eat drink eat and play games, no telly over Christmas. Layla came down on Boxing day, and Jim's uncle and girlfriend too. I can't remember which day it was, but one morning the dog walk consisted of all of us walking to a pub I think called The Spotted Dog. It was a good walk and when we got there we had some pints and played darts for the next few hours...good times.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I just can't keep rambling...obviously I had a great time, everyone was hilarious and very good to me. Christmas away from home ended up being the least lonely that I think I've been since I left, and that was a very pleasant surprise.